[Coral-List] Public perceptions about climate change

David M. Lawrence dave at fuzzo.com
Thu Oct 29 10:24:18 EDT 2009

What was peripheral about the effect of leg-hold traps on beaver and 
non-target critters -- like someone's dog?  That information is 
scientifically and ethically relevant.

People may rationally acknowledge a problem -- beaver population growth 
(although speaking of overpopulation begs the very scientific question 
of which species is "overpopulated," the beaver or us) -- and just as 
rationally and ethically reject the method preferred by the "experts" to 
deal with the problem.

There are good illustrations of the point you were trying to make.  This 
isn't one of them.


Christopher Hawkins wrote:
> I have a short tale to tell.  In the mid 1990s in Massachusetts, there developed a big controversy over the trapping of beaver -- especially via leghold traps.  Since Massachusetts is a ballot referendum state, advocates for banning beaver trapping were successful in placing this issue on the voting ballot for the public to decide.  These advocates used all manner of persuasive communication, including graphic images on television that depicted beavers and household pets caught in leghold traps to push the public towards voting for a ban.  This is what would be called peripheral route persuasion.
> Â 
> In contrast, those advocating for status quo (such as the state agency in charge of such matters) made less empassioned, but very scientifically valid, points - mostly having to do with population dynamics (i.e., trapping is a check on beaver overpopulation) and some of the negative consequences of beaver population increases. This would be called central route persuasion.   

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